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How does one clean a soiled tallit?

How does one clean a soiled tallit?

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Question:

How does one clean a soiled tallit? It is made of wool and is quite old, and has never been cleaned.

Answer:

A wool tallit needs to be hand-washed with a delicate soap, like Woolite, which is especially designed for delicate, wool garments. Soak it for several hours or overnight and then hand wash. If necessary, repeat more than once.

A tallit can also be dry cleaned. However, it might not be advisable to give a tallit to your local dry leaning establishment—as the ones not familiar with tallitot (i.e. most cleaners that are not situated in areas with orthodox Jewish populations) don't always know how to handle them and can cause damage.

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
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Discussion (23)
June 13, 2014
Washing Tallit
I washed my husband's tallit in the washing machine on delicate cycle with a little Woolite and it came out perfectly. Hang to dry. I would not recommend this for an old tallit, hand washing would be preferable.
Rivka
Thornhill
April 7, 2014
Stretched Wool Tzitzit
B"H
How dose one deal with Stretched out wool tzitzis ????
Llandon Ross
July 19, 2013
Dry cleaning tallit? NO!!!!
Our nephew asked if we could provide one of his grandfather's (OBM) tallism to use as the chuppah later this summer. Mom (OBM) had made Dad a lightweight tallit that he could wear, comfortably while davening, during the heat of the summer, from a beautiful brocaded fabric and had added the tzitzit to the corners, but it looked incomplete. So, I ordered a atarah and planned after having it affixed to have it cleaned and pressed and boxed as one of our gifts to the bridal couple.

I realized that had I taken it to a commercial cleaner that I risked making it impure, which would have disappointed Dad. So, I very much appreciate the comments on this thread that explained what is acceptable and what must be avoided. Thank you, all. You helped me honor both of their memories.
M. J. Simon
June 10, 2013
Coffee stain on tallit
Someone spilled coffee on my husband's tallit. How can I clean it! It is yellowed as well.
Karen
Dallas
March 19, 2013
response to March 19 review
Dear "Anonymous",
Sorry to hear that your husband received a dirty tallit. In researching how to deal with the yellow stain, all I found was what NOT to use. Since wool is a protein, do not use any product such as Shout or Spray n Wash . Their websites state it is not for wool or silk, as these products are made to breakdown proteins. My suggestion my be to add a small portion of woolite to the stain directly as per their instructions.
If you've tried this, maybe dry cleaning is your only option. Hope you are successful in the cleaning of this tallit.
praisingann
albuquerque
March 19, 2013
My husband got a very old and dirty tallit as a present. I've soaked it in with wanish for 4 hours than in wolite for another 5 hours than i hand washed. It become whiteish again and most of the dirt went away nicely except the big yellow one at the neck part. Any idea What to do with it? About the knots - you shouldn't cut them for sure just take a small fork or a thin brush which is used f.e. for brushing out the persian carpet's fringes and carefully brush out the fringes on your talit then knot them again. It will take a few hours but there is a good chance that they will turn out nicely again.
Anonymous
October 27, 2012
Cleaning my Tallit
I live in the Chicago area. Does anyone know a cleaner I can use? After 40 years, it's time I had my Tallit cleaned.
Larry
Chicago, IL
October 23, 2012
tallit cleaning
Hello,
I have my husband's tallit which is not made of wool, but a "silky" material...don't know what exactly. As my husband is deceased, my grandson who is about to be Bar Mitzvah would like to use it for his ceremony. I am honored that he do so. The tallit is in excellent condition, but I am fooling with the idea of freshening it up, by having it cleaned. I have mixed feelings about this as I am afraid of it being ruined on the other hand.... Do you have any knowledge of where I could have this done professionally? In your experience, can this type of tallit be cleaned and how does it come out. I may be better not doing anything, but I am conflicted over this. Can you please advise me? Thanks,
Anita Lepelstat
Lakewook, NJ, USA
October 21, 2012
I am a specialty dry cleaner in Akron, Ohio, and have been cleaning tallit's for years. A tallit should never be dry cleaned. The main reason is the high possibility of the tallit coming into contact with linen fibers, even if it is cleaned alone in a separate load. 99% of dry cleaners NEVER use purified distilled solvents on each load as we do. Why? because it is extremely expensive to do so. The point being is that a recycled load of solvent will almost always have linen fibers in it, and even the fibers must not come in contact with the wool.

We hand wash all tallit's separately, with a mild fragrance free hypoallergenic detergent, and ALWAYS drip dry. Once again, just as an added precaution, the tallit is never put into a washing machine to spin, or a dryer, because there is a possibility of it coming in contact with linen fibers. When we press them, we lay down a pressing cloth on the pressing board made of pure Egyptian muslin on both the top and bottom of the tallit, ensuring that even during the pressing process the tallit doesn't come in contact with any wool fibers that may me on the pressing board.

Although this may seem to be "over kill”, it’s the right way to do it.

John Sarvis
John Sarvis Bernadette's French Cleaners. Akron
Akron, OH
July 29, 2012
tallit with moth holes
where can we get moth holes repaired? We need to use the tallis for a chuppah.
ruth elias
Minneapolis, MN
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